LA Schools Settle 58 Teacher Lewd Acts Claims - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

LA Schools Settle 58 Teacher Lewd Acts Claims

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Los Angeles, CA -

The Los Angeles Unified School District announced its settled about a third of the complaint cases against the district, regarding the alleged misconduct of a former Miramonte School teacher.

The district wouldn't disclose the settlement amount, but the attorneys who declined the offer said the last offer to them was $470 thousand per case.

Attorney Luis Carrillo says that's "a pittance" since the estimated therapy alone for the alleged victims of Mark Berndt would be thousands more.

And attorney John Manly says, LAUSD'S offer didn't include any documents he's demanded; documents that would reveal when LAUSD found out about issues at Miramonte and whether the district was ignoring or hiding the problems.  

 

(AP) The Los Angeles school district will pay millions of dollars to settle dozens of legal actions stemming from an abuse case in which a former teacher is charged with lewd acts on children in his classroom over five years, district officials said Tuesday.

General Counsel David Holmquist said the settlement will cover 58 of the 191 claims and lawsuits filed against the district after the January 2012 arrest of former third-grade teacher Mark Berndt on 23 charges of lewd behavior at Miramonte Elementary School.

Holmquist would not specify the exact amount until the settlement is approved by a judge. He described it only as double-digit millions.

Prosecutors say Berndt played "tasting games" with students in which he fed them his semen on cookies and by spoon, sometimes blindfolding and photographing them. Berndt, who taught for 32 years at the South Los Angeles school, has pleaded not guilty in the criminal case.

The allegations came to light when a drugstore photo technician noticed dozens of odd photos of blindfolded children and reported them to authorities. Investigators said they found a plastic spoon in Berndt's classroom trash bin that was found to contain traces of semen.

The case led to a wide-ranging overhaul of how the nation's second largest school district handles allegations of sexual abuse after it was revealed that previous complaints about Berndt's behavior were ignored.

It also shined a light on how slowly state officials act to censure teachers and led to a flurry of allegations of teacher-student sex abuse in the district and in other school systems.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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